Monarchs’ Shield hopes are left hanging by a thread

Monarchs ace Mark Riss leads Tigers' Lewis Kerr at Ashfield. Pic: Ron MacNeill
Monarchs ace Mark Riss leads Tigers' Lewis Kerr at Ashfield. Pic: Ron MacNeill
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Edinburgh Monarchs skipper Erik Riss declared Friday’s home loss to Glasgow Tigers at Armadale was like a “punch in the face” – and the Tigers delivered a full knockout blow to Monarchs’ Championship Shield aspirations with an emphatic 49-41 victory in the return fixture at Ashfield Stadium this afternoon.

The Tigers have all but booked their spot in the semi-finals while Monarchs are left to lick their wounds and, with just a solitary point gained from their trip to Workington Comets, they sit firmly at the foot of the Borders group qualifying section.

Monarchs operated rider replacement for Swede Joel Andersson who was racing in Poland. It was a blessing in disguise as he looked out of his depth in the first match, which was notable for the alarming number of riders who suffered falls, raising some question marks over the competence of Monarchs’ track preparation.

The Tigers simply picked up from where they left off on Friday and raced into a 14-4 lead after just three heats – they scored maximum 5-1 advantages in the second and third races.

Monarchs were unlucky in heat two with Josh Pickering packing up at the tapes, then Mark Riss fell off in the next race.

Edinburgh, however, battled back briefly with a brilliant 5-1 of their own in the fourth race, Erik Riss and Pickering storming to victory over James Sarjeant and Chris Harris. This reduced thearrears to six points, 15-9.

But the Tigers were proving relentless and took a 4-2 in the fifth race, Claus Vissing winning in a new track record time of 58.18 seconds.

The home side repeated the trick in heat six and restored their ten-point lead again, 23-13 – it was proving all too easy for the rampant Tigers.

The agony continued for Monarchs with a further brace of 4-2s for the Tigers. They now led 31-17 and it was turning into something of a rout.

The Tigers were giving Monarchs a lesson in gating but at least Pickering was providing the Monarchs travelling support with some high grade entertainment value and was definitely worth the eight points he amassed from his seven outings from reserve.

Another 4-2 advantage for the Tigers in the ninth heat stretched their advantage further before Monarchs stopped the rot by sharing the spoils in the tenth race, Mark Riss surprisingly beating Tigers’ top two Richie Worrall and Lewis Kerr.

Monarchs still lagged 38-22, but snatched a 4-2 in heat 11 and Erik Riss came out for a tactical substitute ride in heat 12, and alongside his brother Mark, grabbed an easy 5-1 to slash Tigers’ lead to ten points again. And Monarchs ended in style with a further 5-1 from Erik and Mark Riss but it was sadly not enough to earn a match point.

The Riss siblings were Monarchs’ top scorers with 14 and 10 respectively but the Tigers all-round strength saw them comfortably home despite a late rally by the visitors.

Monarchs’ other reserve, Matt Williamson, who struggled and only scored one point, said: “I was disappointed with my performance, it was very poor. The whole team also need to pick themselves up from this loss.”

Glasgow: Vissing 12, Kerr 11, Harris 8, Starke 6, Sarjeant 5, Worrall 4, Thomas 3.

Monarchs: E Riss 14, M Riss 10, Pickering 8, Wells 7, Ruml 1, Williamson 1.